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TIFF adds high-profile titles, feel-good closer

08/14/2012 02:59 EDT | Updated 10/14/2012 05:12 EDT
Movies from top filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Lee, Walter Salles and Brian De Palma are joining the 2012 TIFF slate, which will end on a heart-warming note with the British film Song for Marion.

On Tuesday, Toronto International Film Festival programmers further rounded out this September's edition with their announcement of more high-profile debuts as well as the North American premieres of titles that have screened to acclaim at other festivals.

Song for Marion, directed by Paul Andrew Williams, has snagged the closing night gala spot.

The feel-good, music-filled film stars Terence Stamp as a grumpy pensioner whose ill wife (Vanessa Redgrave) enjoys singing with an unconventional local choir. He is coaxed out, however, by the choir's director, portrayed by Gemma Arterton.

"Bring Kleenex, prepare to sing along," TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey commented about the film via Twitter.

Two other red carpet gala screenings were also announced: Peter Webber's Emperor, a historical drama set against the U.S.-led occupation of Japan after the Second World War, and What Maisie Knew, based on the Henry James novella and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel.

The latest additions to TIFF's special presentations program include films coming to Toronto after stops at other international film fests:

- Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, his long gestating project about a Second World War veteran-turned-drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) lured in by the charismatic leader of a new religious movement (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

- The 1960s-set film noir The Paperboy, from Precious director Lee Daniels and featuring Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack and Zac Efron.

- On the Road, Salles' take on Jack Kerouac's iconic novel, starring Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst.

- Danish Oscar-winner Susanne Bier's romantic comedy-drama Love is All You Need, counting Pierce Brosnan in its ensemble cast.

- Bad 25, Lee's documentary examining Michael Jackson's hit album Bad on its 25th anniversary.

- De Palma's erotic thriller Passion, starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace.

- Spring Breakers, an adventure comedy featuring James Franco and a bevy of young Hollywood starlets, including Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Ashley Benson.

- Nick Cassavetes' hallucinatory drug drama Yellow, starring Sienna Miller.

TIFF programmers fleshed out the globe-trotting offerings of the Contemporary World Cinema slate, which will include the Australian film Underground, which looks at the teen years of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

New this year, the festival will engage five top scholars from the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs to lead discussions after several Contemporary World Cinema screenings. Participants include Michael Ignatieff, Janice Gross Stein and Brian Stewart.

Tuesday's announcement also included details of TIFF's expanded Wavelengths program, a celebration of avant-garde film and video work.

The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 6-16.

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